Returns After One-Year Hiatus
By Dick Downey
After a one-year leave of absence, the Illinois Derby is back on tap this year with seven entries.
The race doesn't carry any Kentucky Derby points, but it has standing in Derby lore due to War Emblem's front-running victory in the 2002 run for the roses after winning the race in Chicago.
The entries in Saturday's race are, in alphabetical order: Hedge Fund, Hollywood Handsome, It’s Your Nickel, Mr. Misunderstood, Multiplier, St. Louie Guy, and Stand and Cheer.
Hedge Fund set the pace in the Sunland Derby before finishing third to Hence and Conquest Mo Money. Irap finished behind him.
Hollywood Handsome is a late Triple Crown nominee. He most recently finished fourth in the Louisiana Derby and will want an honest pace up front.
In the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes on April 9, It's Your Nickel ran within two or three lengths of the pace for six furlongs, then backed up to finish sixth, beaten 13 3/4 lengths.